AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of September 6, 2013
eds. Michele M. Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, Nick Murphy, & Nicolle Zellner

This week's issues:

1.  On Reverse Discrimination

2.  What Can I Do? Form a Women in Astronomy/Physics/Science Group

3.  Advice to Search Committees

4.  Focus on Women Among Physics & Astronomy Faculty

5.  Refuting the Idea that Women are Bad at Math

6.  Female Astronauts Face Discrimination

7.  Representatives Request Government Accountability Office Study on Gender Bias

8.  'Imposters' Downshift Career Goals

9.  2013 DPS Women in Planetary Science Lunch

10. Job Opportunities

11. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

12. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

13. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

1. On Reverse Discrimination
From: John Asher Johnson at womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Ed Bertschinger recently wrote an about his recent encounter with a response to
the charge of 'reverse discrimination.'  It really struck a chord for me because
I used to be 'that guy' who would point to reverse discrimination as part of my
general (uninformed) stance against affirmative action. More recently I've
learned how wrong I was to take such a position. I'd like to take this space to
explain my new way of thinking.

First, think about ...

To read more, please see


2. What Can I Do? Form a Women in Astronomy/Physics/Science Group
From: Joan Schmelz at womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Today's suggestion comes from Sonali Shukla, Coordinator in the Physics
Department, University of Maryland ... 

Ever wonder what you could gain from joining or starting a local Women in
Astronomy/Physics/ Science group? When I was an undergraduate, I was the only
female student in the physics program until my junior year. With such small
numbers, there was no such women's group in my department. However, I got along
well with all my fellow students, and was blissfully unaware of any unconscious
bias against women.

In graduate school, I had several female friends, and one of my colleagues and I
decided to start a Women in Physics group - something that didn't exist at my
university. Our first meeting was ...

To read more, please see


3. Advise to Search Committees
From: Ed Bertschinger at womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

September marks the beginning of the academic year in most universities, and
soon the cycle of postdoc and faculty recruitment will start.  Search committees
will be formed, candidates recruited, short lists formed, candidates
interviewed, and hiring decisions made.  If you are involved in this process,
now is a good time to educate oneself about best practices for recruiting the
individuals most likely to succeed.

Much attention has been devoted to implicit bias, for good reason: science
faculty systematically rate male students as more competent and hireable than
female students who are identical aside from the name (Moss-Racusin et al,
2012). Both male and female faculty exhibit ...

To read more, please see:


4. Focus on Women Among Physics & Astronomy Faculty
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

The representation of women in physics and astronomy continues to grow according
to Ivie et al. from the 2010 survey on physics degree-granting departments. In
2010, over one-fourth of new faculty hires were women, ~15% of Ph-D granting
physics departments had five or more women among their faculty members, and 19%
of faculty members in astronomy-only departments were women. To read about these
statistics, please see


5.  Refuting the Idea that Women are Bad at Math
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

Hanna Rosin posted a set of slides entitled "How Does Biology Explain the Low
Numbers of Women in Computer Science? Hint: It Doesn't" via a Slate.com blog.
The informal slides were created by Terri Oda, a female mathematician who now
works in Computer Science. The goal of the slides is to refute the idea that
women are bad at math and is largely based upon the study by Hyde et al. (1990),
"Gender Differences in Mathematics Performance: A Meta-Analysis." To see or
download a set of the slides, please follow the link:


6.  Female Astronauts Face Discrimination
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

[Thank you Harley Thronson, NASA, for pointing this article to AASWomen - eds.]

Astronauts say that female astronauts face discrimination as female astronauts
have fewer opportunities to fly in space. The relative number is partially due
to women having a lower threshold for space radiation exposure, according to
physiological models used by NASA. A female astronaut flies about half the
missions that a male astronaut flies.

To read more, please see:


7. Representatives Request Government Accountability Office Study on Gender Bias
Harley Thronson [harley.a.thronson_at_nasa.gov]

"Three representatives have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to
examine the "government's effectiveness in combating gender bias in science,
technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields."  Representatives Eddie
Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) called
for the study and have been actively working to address this issue throughout
their careers in Congress.  This GAO study request was in response to a 2012
study by Yale University researchers which concluded that female undergraduate
students are viewed as less qualified for employment in STEM fields than their
male counterparts. "

To read more on this request, please see the AIP FYI page


8. 'Imposters' Downshift Career Goals
From:  Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

[Thank you Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, MIT, and Johanna Teske, University of Arizona, for pointing out this article to AASWomen - eds.]

"Impostorism is something that negatively affects both men and women, but it's
more pronounced among women, and therefore affects their career trajectories
more." --- Jessica L. Collett

To read more on on the imposter syndrome and how a rock-star female mentor may
dissuade some women from pursuing an academic research career and/or downshift
into a non-tenure track position, please see


9. 2013 DPS Women in Planetary Science Lunch
From: Kelsi Singer [kelsi.singer_at_gmail.com]

Join us for an informal meeting and discussion hour over lunch at the Division
of Planetary Sciences Meeting in Denver, CO.  This year's overall topic will be
leadership.  We will have a brief presentation, but are planning for a very
interactive program with lots of time for discussion among participants.  Please
feel free to bring any information/announcements related to women in astronomy
and planetary science to share.  Due to the generosity of the DPS committee, we
will be able to provide boxed lunches this year.  All are welcome!

RSVPs are necessary by September 15th. To RSVP, please fill in the form at


For questions, please contact Kelsi Singer at kelsi.singer_at_gmail.com.

10. Job Opportunities

* Public Program Specialist - NOAO/KPNO

* APS/AIP STEM Education Policy Fellowship at US Dept. of Education

* IPAC Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship 2014

* University of Iowa, Tenure Track, Space Physics Experimentalist

* Howard University, Physics and Astronomy Department Chair

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